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Complete presentation of the banana industry from the clearing of the jungle and the planting to the shipment of the fruit to the American markets.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Castle Films
Sponsor: United Fruit Company
Audio/Visual: Si, B&W
Keywords: Agriculture: Bananas; Central America
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: About About Bananas
About Bananas (1935) was sponsored by United Fruit, today's Chiquita. At the time, the president of the company was Sam Zemurray, who in 1933 led a hostile takeover of United Fruit. Zemurray, a Russian Jewish immigrant from the working class, addressed the stodgy Boston Brahmin board of directors of United Fruit: “You gentlemen have been fucking up this business long enough. I’m going to straighten it out,” and immediately fired them all. The company was failing and Zemurray restored it to become the dominate banana company in the world. This film was part of Zemurray's PR campaign to get Americans to start eating banana's again, after sales had dropped with the start of the depression in 1929. This propaganda film is from the school of Edward Bernays, the originator of modern public relations (the Nazi's were avid followers of Bernays techniques but for ends more nefarious than eating bananas). Bernays and Zemurray and the CIA would later collaborate in the overthrow of government of Guatemala, in the 1950s, to make the country more suitable for United Fruit (a "Banana Republic"); a similar exercise was attempted with Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, which failed, but the CIA today uses propaganda to destabilize or help overthrow governments all over the world for American business and political interests. It all goes back to bananas and Zemurray and United Fruit and the banana republics of the old days. To learn more about Zemurray and United Fruit I recommend The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King (2012).
Subject: American interests?
"for American business and political interests"??
stbalbach You write that Sam Zemurray ousted the Boston Brahmin board of United Fruit - aren't the Boston Brahmins the actual Americans here?
What exactly is it that makes Sam Zemurray and Edward Bernays American? Is it their implied domination of the CIA?
Subject: Why so many reviews?
This is a typical info-commercial of those times. But it is difficult to understand why it is the most downloaded movie on this archive with over 26 million downloads. There must be some hidden story behind this.
Love those obese mineral imps!
Chip Cogswelle -
Subject: Review used for off-topic agenda
Before clicking play, I usually look at reviews. This film has a long (large charCount) post that is WAY OFF topic, and a little scary. What's goin' on?? The film is o.k.
Subject: Propaganda Works!
Just watching that ended my evening long cookie desire and sent me to the kitchen for a banana! Seriously.
On the other hand, how many beautiful island paradises must we deforest, dynamite, dredge and destabilize to cram fragrant foreign fruit in our gaping American maws? Mmmmm nutritious!
Next Up - McMeat!
Matthew Aleksander Earley -
Subject: The Business of Bananas
It takes a man with an idea and men with steam shovels, dynamite, concrete, locomotives, ships and 100Âs of workers to make growing bananas into a business. Definitely a pro-banana movie as none of the methods are shown for pest control and no consideration is given to the landmass used.
Being curious I googled ÂBanana PlantationÂ :
I found this silent film to be a captivating look back in history.
Subject: Going bananas
Great flick on Banana growing. Watching you canÃÂt help but think of malaria :). Look for the great shots of cartoon vitamin characters. As an added bonus you get some great 1920ÃÂs sports shots.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: About Bananas
This 1920s silent film about how great bananas are already has a lot of the standard conventions of industrial films. The first part of it shows in detail how bananas are grown and harvested in various Caribbean countries. Then it switches into housewife mode, as it tries to convince us how nutritious and delicious bananas are. It even features animated sprites to represent the various vitamins and minerals in bananas. The "mineral" sprites are grossly obeseÃÂÃÂI'd like to see them get away with those today. Not bad for a silent film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Subject: Be Bold With Bananas!
Interesting film about one heck of a bizarre subject. Film starts in an unnamed South American country, where those pesky virgin rain forests are chopped down for Banana farms. Soon the Bananas grow, and we are shown how they get to market. About 5 minutes left into the show, the film starts getting PROPOGANDISTIC with titles in CAPITALS coming TOWARDS us, to NAIL THE POINT DOWN. Rather offputting for such an innocous fruit!